By Tom Wilson
“At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques”
Having failed in his mandate to deliver investment to Liverpool Football Club, a nonfulfillment that resulted in him having his remit reduced and lead to the appointment of Martin Broughton and Barclays Capital, it appears that Christian Purslow is filling the gaps in his increasingly sparse schedule by meddling in areas that don’t concern him.
Despite being a lifelong supporter and long time season ticket holder, the Liverpool managing director has, on occasion, paid scant regard to Shankly’s famous “Holy Trinity” mantra.
To all intents and purposes, it appears that the Liverpool MD, when not desperately seeking the approval of certain senior members of the first team squad, is trying to desperately compensate for his demotion of sorts by both securing his position, satisfying his ego by painting himself as some kind of “Mr Liverpool” figure, whilst at the same time undermining the manager at every turn in a childish, narcissistic fit of pique.
Not happy with just having an unhealthy influence over big hitter and Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter, Christian is reputedly bending the collective ears of anyone with an outlet who’ll listen to his propaganda.
Propaganda which resulted in this piece by Sam Wallace and Mark Fleming in The Independent.
As if the seemingly deliberate timing of the article wasn’t bad enough – on the eve of Liverpool’s biggest game of the season – it also illustrates perfectly the delusions of grandeur of the former middle market equity boss, who it is believed was the source of the story.
Anfield Road has learned that whilst the club may very well be targeting Dutch midfielder Rafael Van Der Vaart, and indeed Real Madrid may have been approached already about the 27 year old, it has been without the knowledge, permission, or say-so of the first team manager or his staff.
These revelations initially came to light that last week in Madrid at the Vicente Calderon where Purslow was holding court with the various members of the press pack, boasting of a meeting with Florentino Perez, claiming that he had been offered “Van der Vaart and a striker”.
At that point in time the manager didn’t even know Purslow had been talking transfers with Real Madrid, he certainly hadn’t asked him to, yet Purslow saw no problems at all in broadcasting the news to the press. Benítez, as a result, is believed to feel both undermined and unnerved having inevitably been informed of such developments.
Whilst it may not be absolutely essential to have a “football background” to hold a senior position at a club, to actively interfere over the manager’s head on transfer policy is tantamount to treason and is a stunning dereliction of duty from a man who seems to revel in the status that his title bequeaths him.
– CP, SOS meeting minutes, 2nd February 2010.
Whether such indiscretions are part of a deliberate campaign to unsettle the manager, or merely the acts of a man desperate for the world to know his importance aren’t clear.
Although if it is the former, it would be without the blessing of the club’s owners who are desperate to keep the turbulence surrounding the club to an absolute minimum as they look for someone to stump up the best part of £500,000,000 to take the club out of their hands.
Having appointed Broughton, who is yet to meet Benítez, chiefly in an effort to break deadlock at boardroom level in order to sell the club, the last thing that Liverpool and its owners need is a war of attrition between its manager and managing director.
There is little doubt that Christian Purslow is a Liverpool fan and came into the club with the best intentions, in all probability giving up a much better paid job to do so, to land one which every Liverpool fan in the country is convinced they could do.
Therein lies the issue
A fan cannot run a football club, indeed, the evidence of such catastrophes are scattered down the leagues; essentially it’s the ultimate poisoned chalice as logic and reason go out of the window.
It may very well be his perceived raison d’être that has blinded him somewhat, stripped away the cold-eyed professionalism that is required to run a club the size of Liverpool FC.
There is no doubt that in his heart he only wants the best for the club, but if he steps back and takes stock, his head may tell him the best thing for the club would be for him to step down, thus helping achieve the aim in what he set out to do in the first place.